During World War II, he was a member of the French Resistance and saved dozens of children from race laws and concentration camps. He gave his first major performance to 3000 troops after the liberation of Paris in August 1944.
In 1959, he established his own pantomime school in Paris, and subsequently set up the Marceau Foundation to promote the art in the U.S.
He had two sons with his first wife and two daughters with his third wife, Anne Sicco, who he married in 1975.
He created the character Bip the Clown, who became his alter ego like "Little Tramp" became Charlie Chaplin's alter ego.